As the complexity and uncertainty of the business environment increases, the ability of leaders to face the ensuing challenges is being questioned to the point where research into ineffective leadership has become increasingly relevant. This is particularly important where leadership has become detrimental to the success of an organisation and the motivation and productivity of its employees. The aim of this study is to understand the perceptions of destructive leadership from the viewpoint of female employees, who are increasingly playing a more vital role in driving organisational performance and sustainability within the global workforce. The research further aims to understand the effect of destructive leadership behaviours on the engagement levels of female employees.
Qualitative, exploratory research was carried out in order to gain these insights, entailing in depth interviews with fifteen professional female employees across a diverse range of ages, races, industries and job seniority levels, who had experienced working for destructive bosses. The data gathered was then analysed by means of a thematic content analysis in order to identify the main themes and patterns evident in the data.
The overall research findings extend the literature on destructive leadership traits, from the perspective of subordinates in general, in terms of destructive leaders being abusive; manipulative; incompetent and arrogant. However, from the perspective of female employees, two additional traits were uncovered where women in the workplace believe that destructive bosses are both insecure and intolerant of them based on their gender. The research also revealed that all dimensions of female employee engagement (performance; commitment; satisfaction; identification and loyalty) were adversely affected while working for a destructive boss. However, employee loyalty and satisfaction were the most severely affected as the majority of the women interviewed attempted to leave their organisations while working for their destructive boss. This was enhanced by the fact that they believed that management did not care for employees as no action was taken against the offending bosses to remedy the situation and provide a safe working environment for female employees.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2019.